Project #129: Samurai Champloo Part 2

Hello and welcome to Project Nitsuj. Last week we started reviewing Samurai Champloo as a part of the Summer of Watanabe. In the review we saw how different the characters were and how tough life was back then. Today we continue Mugen, Jin, and Fuu’s journey in search of the sunflower samurai. Will they find him? What dangers will they come across? Will we ever see that gay samurai from episode 2 again? Well let’s continue our review and finish up Samurai Champloo by taking a look at the second half of the show.

 

Episodes 13-17

 

Episodes 13 and 14 are another 2 part episode. In these two parts we learn a little more about Mugen’s backstory. The trio has arrived at the sea (sadly no fanservice episode guys. Not that it would be all that pleasing seeing as Fuu is 15 years old) where they get attacked by some pirates. Mugen and Jin defend themselves from their attack and the captain of the pirates Mukuro comes out where he recognizes Mugen and even admits he thought Mugen was dead (I doubt even the devil could contain Mugen). It’s here that we get an idea that Mugen was a pirate and belong to Mukuro’s crew. Mukuro tells them he’s looking for strong men to join him and his crew on their next job promising a large sum of the haul to them if they join (throw in your life and we got a deal). Mugen outright says no and walks away where he’s quickly followed by Jin, Fuu, and Kohza, Mukuro’s sister who has a thing for Mugen. Kohza tells them the best way to get to the main road to Nagasaki is to take the ocean to Ise. Taking her information to heart (and the fact she’s the only one with a trusting face among the pirates) Mugen begins looking for a boat they can use to reach Ise. While that’s going on Jin and Fuu inspect the pirate’s village where Jin pieces together that the pirates invaded the village, killed all the women and children, and had the men fight and kill each other where the survivors joined the crew (so there’s no loyalty or respect. Just fear. They’ll fall apart in no time). After a bit of persuasion from Mukuro, Mugen decides to join him and his crew on their heist much to Jin and Fuu’s surprise and worry (scene here: //youtu.be/MCvJCXDctGU). Later that night the pirates raid the shogunate ship (scene here: //youtu.be/Xdcd5jI44zw, well that wasn’t surprising. What did you expect the guy was an asshole). After the explosion we see Mugen’s life flash before his eyes where we see the sheer beauty of this episode (scene here: //youtu.be/Z76QpjZo6vE, that was beautiful. Pretty much everything we need to know about Mugen’s past can be summed in this scene). The next day Kohza wanting to avenge Mugen (lies I say! Lies!) begs Jin to kill Mukuro and he does it (he just can’t say no to the ladies. Scene here: //youtu.be/g1Tw-_KDhx4, nice vengeance Jin. And you killed him with Mugen’s move. You cold Jin. You cold). After killing Mukuro, Jin quickly realizes that he was tricked into killing him by Kohza who has teamed up with a member of the pirate crew named Shiren to keep the loot for themselves and get the hell out of there. Why doesn’t she take the loot for herself you ask? Well it’s because Shiren is the only one who now knows where all the loot is and Kohza admits she can’t live alone. In fact in a scene earlier she tried to seduce Mugen into teaming up with her but Mugen easily sees through her tricks and shrugs her off (that’s pretty impressive considering that Mugen is a man controlled by his lower body part). Fuu manages to find Mugen washed up on the beach and manages to take him back to a hut where she tries to nurse him back to health. Mugen tricks her into leaving and as soon as she does Mugen drags himself outside to find Mukuro and kill the bastard (you’re late to that party buddy). Mugen comes across Jin who tells him that he killed Mukuro pissing Mugen off (you still have the girl Mugen). Jin admits that he was tricked by Kohza and due to his samurai code he can’t harm her so he leaves her fate in the hands of Mugen a guy not bound by any code but his own (the perfect man for the job. Scene here: //youtu.be/f7s9nySLga8, that was beautiful. He gave her a fate worse than death and didn’t even give her the time of day. The vengeance in this episode is just great).

 

Episode 15 is another one of my top 3 favorite Samurai Champloo episodes. It starts off with a rapping golden frog (scene here: //youtu.be/DoUcYxFiHxM). After the intro we than see a young male ninja running from some other ninjas. The male ninja knowing he’s about to get caught takes out a bag and tosses it into the river (I wonder what kinds of trouble that bag is gonna bring?). We then cut to our trio eating and fishing (scene here: //youtu.be/lCv7JRylGCE). So now that our trio are filthy bitch (as they like to call it) they hit the big city where they let Fuu gluttonize herself and then ditch her to visit the red light district (they’ll soon be naming it the white district if you know what I mean, //youtu.be/rv9qs5WVHS8?t=31s). They go to the best brothel where the guys aren’t impressed with the girls until they see a beautiful one by the name of Yatsuha. They do the Japanese version of rock, paper, scissors to see who gets her and Mugen wins leaving Jin with the other girls. As the boys get prepared to enjoy themselves we find out that the brothel is a front for a counterfeit operation and the gold that Jin found is counterfeit money. We see the ninja from earlier all beaten up and battered and discover that he’s an agent working for the government to uncover the operation along with his superior officer Yatshua (alright Mugen hit the potjack with this one. A ninja and a police officer. Nice). The leader of the operation figures out that the money Mugen and Jin have is counterfeit so he tells his man to go out and find Fuu, apprehend Mugen and Jin, and get Yatshua because he suspects her for being an ally of the ninja boy. What happens next is series of funny events where Mugen literally jumps through hoops to get his freak on (scenes here: //youtu.be/yt7yhsj3DLo and //youtu.be/JwKRnpIkihM, they make a good team). After knocking him out she leaves Mugen by a tree unconscious hoping his friends will find him (and I use the word friends very loosely here). As she’s walking away she says she’s going to marry Mugen one day saying that she fell in love with him (well you sure have an interesting way of showing it). As for the other two, Fuu is fine and still hungry and Jin threw out his back.

 

Another 2 part for episodes 16 and 17. The trio is walking on a path in the mountains with some other travelers who are worried since there have been a series of strange sightings happening in the mountains. Some believe it’s a monster, a mountain god upset, and others believe it’s the ghost of Yoshitune (scene here: //youtu.be/FtP2tPUw3AU. That was so random and yet so funny at the same time. And as long as we’re having fun let’s do a dub vs sub on this scene. Here’s the Japanese version: //youtu.be/2_nl0QwHnus. Alright both versions were good, funny, and random but I still like the English over the Japanese version. It just flowed better). After Mugen comes across a dead bear he becomes interested in the Yoshitune ghost and wants to investigate it as does Jin. This doesn’t sit well with Fuu who believes that the guys have no interest in helping her and are just with her because she’s cute and they want to get with her (you just live in your own little world don’t you Fuu?). Mugen of course retorts her claims which causes an argument to erupt between the two with Jin in the middle of it (big brother do something). They argue until the trio decide to go their own separate ways. After walking a bit Fuu realizes she’s alone and in unfamiliar territory and begins to get scared. She trips and falls off the edge of a cliff into a waterfall down below (Mira: I feel her pain. (Nitsuj): Why? When did you fall off a cliff into a waterfall? (Mira): *Pauses for a second* I don’t want to talk about it). Mugen realizing he forgot to kill Jin goes running through the mountains where he gets attacked by this archer carrying a crossbow who accuses Mugen of being with the Matsumae-Han (the what-su-mae Han?). After Mugen confirms that he’s not with them the archer disappears. On Jin’s part he gets into a fight with another one of his fellow students (scene here: //youtu.be/CTXoYUyLzY8, love the music playing throughout these scenes). Back with Fuu we see she got saved by the archer named Okuru a man who lost his village and family to an epidemic and is now traveling west for some reason (something about going to Oni Island or the Dragon Palace. I don’t know). Since Fuu is also traveling west she wonders if she and him could travel together and he says no because he’s a fugitive (don’t worry I’m sure she’s a fugitive as well). He leaves her once she falls asleep and continues on his journey with Momo (Fuu’s pet squirrel. Doesn’t really contribute all that much to the show) by his side (squirrels ain’t the most loyalist of animals). Back with Mugen he gets surrounded by government officials who accuse him of being Okuru but after Mugen kicks their butts and confirms he’s not Okuru they scatter however Mugen catches one of them to get answers into what’s going on (well as of right now it looks you’re about to kill another government official but hey that’s normal for you). The official says that Okuru is responsible for killing everyone in his village as well as a government official. They believe he’s suffering from dementia caused by the epidemic and want to stop him before he kills anyone else. Mugen is hesitant to believe them but he says he’ll find Okuru for them. As he’s walking through the forest he here’s a beautiful song being played (scene here: //youtu.be/uEkNxpUhndk). After the song is done Mugen and him have a chat where Mugen actually shows some level of respect to Okuru (that’s a first). Okuru tells Mugen that the epidemic that attacked his village was caused by the government and he prepares his crossbow to fight Mugen. Jin and Fuu are reunited (and it feels so. . .neutral) where they get attacked by Yukimura and Jin fights him again which leads to the death you saw in the video earlier. Mugen and Okuru fight through the forest when all of a sudden the Matsumae-Han attack with burning arrows. Okuru tells Mugen to run saying that this is his battle and he fights where he gets hit with a burning arrow to the chest (Okuru: I used to be in Samurai Champloo. Until I took a burning arrow to the chest). Before dying he kills the man responsible for destroying his village and the trio is reunited (and it feels so good) where Mugen and Jin slice the Matsumae-Han and Okuru dies in a blaze of glory as he falls off a cliff into the waterfall. Once they’re out of the mountains Mugen asks Fuu what she wants to do when she finds the sunflower samurai. Her response is revenge for her mother. After hearing this the two samurais continue to walk forward and they tell Fuu to hurry up (the band is back together).

 

Episodes 18-22

 

Episode 18 is the graffiti episode (a staple of the hip-hop culture). The trio is in Aki eating at a restaurant where Fuu discovers that Mugen can’t read and no it’s not an asspull that they made up on the spot Mugen really can’t read. In fact in episode 12 they actually made a strong hint that Mugen can’t read. Mugen tries to play it off saying that he doesn’t need to read in order to survive but an angry teacher named Bundai (my second favorite side character in this series) overhears their conversation, grabs Mugen by the neck, forces him to drink a bottle of sake, and berates Mugen for not caring about reading (this is my kind of teacher). Bundai than passes out from drinking too much and the trio leave their bill with him. When they head out in the streets we see that the city walls are plagued by graffiti writing which has the masses upset (why? It’s a masterpiece, respect it). Jin takes his leave to Maihama to visit Juunosuke Niwa a famous swordsman who helped him out in the past and owns a famous dojo. Once he’s gone Fuu attempts to ask Mugen if he would like her to teach him how to read which he says no to. Instead, he’ll be learning from Bundai who kidnaps Mugen and drags him back to his school where he teaches Mugen how to read (//youtu.be/QHIvK4a7vXk, now that was funny). Back on Jin’s side of the story he arrives in Maihama to find Juunosuke’s dojo in disarray and plastered with graffiti (El Barto was here). A bunch of thug looking kids come up and try to take Jin on but he easily beats them and become a lot more polite and respectful (respect Jin’s swagger). It turns out that Juunosuke is dead. A long time ago Juunosuke had the best dojo in the Aki area which made a lot of the other dojo masters jealous and angry (whiners). Rather than work hard to sharpen their skills they instead complained to the daimyo who gave Juunosuke two options. Either shut his dojo down (for what? Having the best dojo? That’s like shutting down Pizza Hut because they have the best pizza around) or cut off his own arm (which back then meant the end for you as a samurai. Also, this can be considered history’s first swatting incident). Juunosuke refused to shut his dojo down and cut his arm off so instead he took his life (he really didn’t think this plan through all the way) hoping that his twin sons Tatsu and Kazu would continue down the path he laid for them (and boy was he wrong). We see that Tatsu and Kazu (who are about the same age as Fuu) are nothing but thugs (amateur ones at that) who have abandoned the sword and have taken up tagging meaning they’re the ones responsible for all the graffiti in the town (nice job boys. It really speaks to me). The two brothers are in a fight with each other over who’s the leader of the gang so Fuu suggest that the two brothers hold a tagging competition. The one who tags the most dangerous spot becomes the new leader of the gang and as an added bonus the brothers decide to add Fuu to the spot seeing as how they “seemingly” find her cute (this is actually a good joke that pays off in the end). So their competition begins and we get a short montage of each of the brothers and their team tagging dangerous areas while avoiding and being chased by authorities (tag tag fight power). After the short montage the two still can’t decide who the leader is so Fuu tells them to tag the one place neither of them has been able to tag. And that place would be Hiroshima Castle where they tag the place up dodging authorities while some kickass music plays in the background (song here: //youtu.be/nmuoRPTnb-4). As the two are tagging the castle a mysterious person passes by them and makes their way to the highest point of the castle. The two follow this person to the top where we see its Mugen (come to steal the show) who has tagged the castle with his own sign ∞ (fun fact: Mugen means infinity in Japanese). Mugen than jumps off the castle claiming he’s won leaving the brothers in a state of disbelief. However despite losing the two are okay and decide to run the gang side by side. To make matters better a fashion designer wants the two boys to work for him but before they can do that they have to survive Bundai who takes the boys back to school because they’ve been writing their letters incorrectly.

 

Episode 19 starts off with Fuu staying at a shed when all of a sudden a woman comes in begging Fuu for help. Two other men come along looking for the women but Fuu hides her from them. While that’s going on Mugen and Jin are stuck at a road where they’re being tested to see if they’re Christian or not. Yeah, remember in my Tokyo Godfather review when I talked about Christianity being in Japan? Well this is what I was talking about. Around this time, the 17th century, Japan not only had a strict law that forbid foreigners from entering their country, they also had a strict law on foreign religions as well. After the defeat of the Shimara uprising in 1638, Christianity became forbidden and anyone caught practicing it were sentenced to death. Many Christians who were still in the country stayed in remote villages and islands in the south and became known as hidden Christians. To this day they still exist in Japan remaining very secretive and refuse to join other Christian denominations in the country because of warnings passed down from the Jesuit priests who warned them about false priest (i.e. protestants and other Catholic orders). When its Mugen’s turn to take the crucifixion test he gets stopped by Xavier the Third a man who claims to be the grandson of Francisco Xavier a missionary from Portugal who introduced Christianity in Japan. He fires on the guards and gallops off on his horse laughing like a maniac (well there’s an interesting character you don’t see everyday). Back with Fuu we find out that the name of the woman she helped is Yuri a hidden Christian who informs Fuu that the charm on Fuu’s tanto is actually a Christian memento with a cross inside of it. Yuri also tells Fuu that the sunflower samurai she’s looking for is named Kasumi (oh thank God I can finally stop calling him the sunflower samurai. When you call a samurai that he just loses all his coolness). The men from before come back and knockout Fuu taking Yuri away. Fuu gets waken up by Mugen and the trio venture off to search for her where they arrive at a village at night and spend the night (suspicious village much?). later that night Fuu follows a group of people into a cave where the people are all hidden Christians hearing a sermon from Xavier the Third who tells them that Heaven has become overpopulated and the only way to get into Heaven is to take up arms and kill non-believers (Marilyn Mansion is laughing his head off somewhere to this statement). Fuu gets captured by the two men from before and it finally gets revealed that this is all a black market setup by Xavier the Third and his henchmen to get money and use religion as a cover to trick people into making the guns and sell them (you are going to hell). We see that Xavier wants to make Yuri his wife but she refuses because she can’t be bought with money and sees through Xavier. Fuu ties a sheet of paper to Momo asking for help and Momo gets the message to Mugen and Jin who come in swords a swinging and saving Yuri from getting married to Xavier where he falls over and gets revealed he’s not Portuguese but instead Japanese and isn’t Xavier’s descendent. Yuri picks up his gun and points it at him but she refuses to kill him which gives him enough time to pull out this crazy bazooka like gun and points it at the crowd. He pulls the trigger but the gun misfires and explodes taking him out in a huge ball of flame (and the wicked have received their punishment). When morning comes the trio continue their journey where Fuu finally reveals that Kasumi is actually her father and she intends to kill him for abandoning her and her mother some years ago.

 

We get another 2 part story for episodes 20 and 21. In this story the trio meet a shamisen player named Sara who is a goze a blind person (who apparently gives Daredevil a run for his money as this woman seems to be able to see everything just fine). After being saved by Mugen (who is probably the only woman who would say Mugen has a cute face) from some thugs she offers to travel with them for a while saying she’ll pay for lodging and everything (sounds like a deal). They begin traveling where we’re treated to a montage of their traveling while listening to Sara’s shamisen song (scene here: //youtu.be/qyDhTca3k6E, beautiful. Trust me, it may sound like she’s just shouting gibberish but I assure this is a very beautiful song). After the song we get a few more scenes where Sara reveals that she has a little boy and due to several circumstances she’s unable to see him (not that she could see him in the first place). Fuu decides she wants to help reunite Sara with her son so when it’s time for Sara to depart with the trio Fuu asks Jin to go with her and help her out. He openly says yes and goes with Sara much to Fuu’s surprise (scene here: //youtu.be/PltaZ59OY0U). Once Jin and Sara are alone Sara reveals who she really is (scene here: //youtu.be/5QOvlwxdPAI, alright the first real fight Jin has ever had in this show other than Mugen). The next morning Sara gets pulled from out of the water by some villagers with Mugen and Fuu amongst them. As for Jin, he gets saved by this crazy (but funny) fisherman who says his name is Musashi Miyamoto (or was it Johnny?). Back with Mugen and Fuu after Sara is rescued Mugen examines the riverbank where he finds Sara’s staff and shamisen and has most likely analyzed it to find out it’s a weapon. He returns to the hut where Fuu and Sara are at where Fuu leaves to look for Jin and Mugen says he knows who Sara really is (once again a girl Mugen like is trying to kill him or steal from him. He really does have bad luck with women doesn’t he?). She gets up, takes her staff, and says she’ll be waiting by the river to fight Mugen (don’t go losing to some blind woman Mugen. Scene here: //youtu.be/SqE_fY7EBDE, and the winner for best ass-kicking goes to Sara). After the fight Fuu nurses Mugen back to health and Jin returns where he wonders who it was that sent Sara after them (well let’s see you killed countless people, snuck passed checkpoints, ruined the lives of people, made enemies of the yakuza, helped a prostitute escape from a whore house, eat-and-run, and have even mingled with foreigners. So I’m gonna say all of Japan is out to get you). After resting Mugen goes back out to face Sara one last time (scene here: //youtu.be/SqE_fY7EBDE, she let herself get killed. You got lucky Mugen. You got lucky). When Mugen asked why she allowed herself to get killed she says she came to the conclusion that her child is long dead (how she came to that conclusion is beyond me I just viewed it as copped out because they couldn’t come up with a plausible way for Mugen to beat her). Before she dies she says that she was being used by the shogunate government (so the government wants them dead) and then she dies with Mugen enraged by her death.

 

Episode 22 is the mindfuck episode. It starts off with our trio coming across some matsutake mushrooms where Mugen and Jin goops them all down leaving Fuu with nothing (scene here: //youtu.be/5FEpyfvHkbA). After falling into the cavern they land safely where they’re found by two miners (who look like zombies) from an excavation group. Mugen chops off one of their arms where there’s no blood (that should have been their wake up call to leave this place as soon as possible) and they run away screaming. After leaving the cavern they make it to the excavation site being run by a shady guy named Shige who claims to be a descendent of Heike (look up Heike Monogatari). Shige is looking for Heike’s lost treasure which he says he’s entitled to since he’s Heike’s descendent (I’m gonna need to see a will that says that). The group is skeptical to believe him but he shows his family tree to them which also shows a map pointing to where the treasure is. Shige says he’ll give the trio 10% each of the treasure if they agree to stay and help out (don’t do it this guy’s crazy). With the promise of money waved in front of them (and of course being broke like always) they agree to help him. It’s here that we begin to see just how messed up this place is as everyone looks like their dead and lifeless as all they eat is wasabi and they think they’re in the Kamakura Era (1192-1333. The anime takes place sometime in the 1600s). Jin and Fuu start to become suspicious of the workers and Shige and once Fuu sees two workers get crushed by an explosion and another worker lose his arm she really starts to wonder who these guys are. Finally wanting to know answers she follows Shige and one of his workers to a cemetery where he literally summons the dead. Scared by what she sees Fuu runs away screaming her head off while also avoiding the zombies. Back at the camp Jin and Mugen are studying Shige’s family tree when all of a sudden Fuu comes in and sees them eating the wasabi which scares her (what? It’s just wasabi. Wasabi that seems to be a hit with zombies for some reason). When she becomes surrounded by zombies she faints and Mugen fights the zombies where his sword attacks have no effect on them and he along with Fuu (who has regained consciousness) become surrounded. Just when it seems like the end for them Jin reveals that Shige isn’t related to Heike at all. This pisses off the rest of his workers (what are you guys mad for you’re already dead) and just when they’re about to get him a meteor strikes the excavation site creating a mushroom cloud and ending the episode. The fuck did I just watch? This episode is such a mindfuck. What drugs were they on when they made this episode? Many people have theorized that this was all a fever dream caused by the mushrooms at the beginning of the episode but that theory doesn’t hold up because Fuu didn’t eat the mushrooms at all so she has no reason to hallucinate all this craziness. This whole episode was just here to screw with us and give us all nightmares.

 

Episodes 23-26

 

Episode 23 is without a doubt my favorite in the entire series. It’s also the funniest episode in the entire series. Remember in my Boondocks review when I said their kickball episode was based on Samurai Champloo? Well this is the episode I was talking. After trying to dine-and-dash again a guy by the name of Kagemaru offers to pay their bill if they help him win a baseball game. Against who you ask? Why against the Americans. US fleet ships have come to Japan and wish to establish a trading route with them whether Japan likes it or not. Kagemaru stood up to them and said he’ll wager Japan’s trading rights on a game of baseball (I don’t think he has the authority to do that but all cares let’s play ball). The trio agree to play in the game and what occurs is without a doubt a series of hilarious events that keep you laughing from beginning to end (scenes here: //youtu.be/x-iEGGG-N18//youtu.be/talb4yniGv8//youtu.be/lKwXwk7jA9c, and //youtu.be/nsZ3Z8m-5HM?t=2m56s). The games ends with the Americans retreating and developing a fear for Japan (today it’s the opposite).

 

Episode 24 is where we begin our epic three part finale of the series. It starts off at a house where a member of the Shogun’s council of elders goes to visit a man by the name of Kariya a retired samurai who was said to be the strongest swordsman in Japan (Goemon and Kenshin might disagree with that statement) and is nicknamed The Hand of God. The councilman tells Kariya how the trio have disposed of Sara and are closing in on the Kasumi. Kariya takes an interest in the trio and says he’ll deal with them personally. We then cut to our trio at night where we find out that Nagasaki isn’t far away from them (they made it folks. It was an interesting journey but they made it). Fuu gets sentimental on them and says that they should open up to each other about their past. They start with Mugen (scene here: //youtu.be/ZaPqA0Mobwc. Wow. Mugen just admitted to killing Mito Komon a member of the Shogun’s immediate family. This might explain why Sara was sent to kill them). Jin talks about his past into how he lost his parents at a young age and was placed in a dojo where he studied kenjutsu. He was a model student that no one could beat and was his master’s pupil. However things came crashing when he committed the act of killing his master and ran away from the dojo where he’s been pursued by other students of the dojo for a long time (you’re bringing me down Jin). Fuu talks about how her dad was never around when she was little (too busy smelling like sunflowers no doubt) and always thought he was dead. But before Fuu’s mother died of an illness she told Fuu that her father was still alive somewhere. Even though Fuu was told her father isn’t a bad person Fuu still couldn’t forgive him for leaving her and her mom and vowed to one day track him down and make him pay. The morning arrives and when the trio leave their campsite we see three guys named Denkibou (a Gollum knock-off), Toube (a silent guy in a wheel chair with only one leg), and Umanosuke (the scythe guy) investigating the sight looking for our trio (specifically Mugen) so they can kill them (or him). Why, well in episode 15 when Mugen teamed up with the pirates and raided a ship he attacked the shipped the brothers were serving on and Mugen attacked Toube cutting off his leg off (and as the anime has shown us losing an arm or a leg pretty much screws your life forever), mentally scarred Denkibou, and ruined one of Umanosuke’s eyes. Because the three failed to protect the government ships they were stripped of their government authority and fired, now these three brothers want revenge. Back with our trio they reach a port city where after they eat Fuu tricks them into going on an errand for her and catches a boat to Nagasaki by herself leaving Mugen and Jin behind (this is most likely payback from the previous episodes when they ran out on her). Mugen and Jin discover a letter left by Fuu in her purse where she asks that the two postpone their fight forever and just be friends (that is impossible). As they sit at the docks eating a sponge cake (you know, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship) they get approached by Kariya who tells them where Fuu went (that was nice of him) and also tells them (as well as us) who Kasumi is. It turns out Kasumi is a samurai who sided with the Christians during the Shimbara Rebellion. He was labeled a traitor by his country and was placed on the shogun’s list of people who must die (the shogun’s death note if you will). All this time they’ve known about Fuu traveling to find her father and rather than take her into custody they have instead been letting her travel in the hopes that she’ll lead them to Kasumi (and they betted right). After telling them all of this he says he must now kill them both because they know too much and because Mugen killed Mito Komon (you just had to kill the grandson of the shogun didn’t you Mugen?). Back with Fuu she arrives on the island where the islanders don’t take to kindly to her being there and looking for Kasumi. After helping a child the mother tells her where she can find Kasumi and as she walks to a field of dead sunflowers she gets captured and knocked out by Umanosuke.

 

The fight between Mugen, Jin, and Kariya begins where it’s quite obvious Kariya is miles ahead of them (scenes here: //youtu.be/RTDeuS24k2s and //youtu.be/XEiZBxpZDEc?t=3m4s. During this fight we also learn why Jin killed his master. Originally Kariya wanted to turn Jin’s school into a school of assassins that worked under the government. Jin of course protest this but the master has no choice but to agree. Kariya tells the master to kill Jin since he won’t obey orders and this resulted in Jin killing his master and becoming a rournin). As Mugen is making his way to the island he gets attacked by Denkibou (scene here: //youtu.be/G9kPznnyTHk). Mugen reaches the island where he makes his way to the chapel where Fuu is be held hostage by Umanosuke where Mugen comes in (all badass. (Shizuku): And hot I might add) where he releases Fuu and tells her to go meet her dad while he takes on Umanosuke. The two begin to fight as Fuu reaches the cape where she sees a cabin and Kariya on his way to the island to kill them all (the suspense is killing me. Who will live and die).

 

The fight between Mugen and Umanosuke continues where Umanosuke does get in his fair shots at Mugen but in the end Mugen kills via decapitation (//youtu.be/z84PznGxips?t=2m37s). Back with Fuu she’s frozen with fear at the cabin until an old servant comes wanting to know who she is (she’s the main heroine of this series you old fart. Show some respect). Upon closer inspection he recognizes Fuu as the daughter of Kasumi and lets her in where we see that Kasumi is on his deathbed and is almost completely blind. She tells him her life story (which we’ve heard and seen a dozen times in the anime) and walks out saying she can’t bring herself to punch him since he’s so frail now. When she walks out she leans up against the door crying unsure of what to do. As the old servant begins to talk to her they see Kariya appear over the horizon, enter the house, and pull out his sword ready to kill Kasumi. Before dying Kasumi apologizes to Fuu for everything and says that he never once forgot about her or his wife (that still doesn’t excuse you for not being there for them). Kariya kills Kasumi and then sets his sights on Fuu where she runs to a cliff with nowhere else to run (well this is the end for her folks). Just when it seems like all hope is lost Jin appears battered, beaten, hair down and shirt slightly ripped exposing a part of his chest (Mira: Wow! That is so hot) to face Kariya once again. While that’s going on Mugen is taking on Toube (scene here: //youtu.be/yHvWxytUbrs, boy that last scene with Mugen was trippy). After Mugen’s trippy death experience he comes to and sees Fuu along with Jin by his side (how he survived that explosion is beyond me. Either God loves him or the Devil doesn’t want anything to do with Mugen. Scene here: //youtu.be/u0WGMG23GKY, and this was the best outcome to the fight). A week passes with Mugen and Jin regaining consciousness and Fuu burying Kasumi (in a non-Christian grave ironically). The old servant tells Fuu that Kasumi wanted to bring her and her mother with him but knew that if he did they would both be persecuted which is why he came alone and stayed away from them all this time. Mugen and Jin somehow become friends not wanting to kill each other and after they eat they stand at a crossroad where they’re about to go their own separate ways (I haven’t been this sad to see characters split since Ash, Brock, and Misty from Pokémon) where Fuu says that the coin she tossed in the first episode came up heads meaning they didn’t have to go on this journey at all and that Mugen and Jin could of just fought each other (Seras: What was this journey all about? (Nitsuj): About three people who had little to nothing in common developing bonds with each other and becoming the most unlikely of friends. Scene here: //youtu.be/lmVo_4SSK5M, now I’ve heard some people don’t like this ending. Fans wanted the trio to keep on traveling together but in my opinion this was the best ending for them and can honestly be related to life. In life we meet all kinds of people and go on adventures with them. We laugh, we cry, we grow, we fight, and through it all develop bonds with each other that we never forget. Then we say goodbye to our friends and go on our next adventure. That’s the message I get from this ending. Mugen, Jin, and Fuu’s adventure with each other has come to end but their friendship with each other hasn’t. Now that their adventure with each other is over it’s time for them to go on their own adventures. Do they meet again? Maybe. Who knows? Chances are Fuu finally found that one guy who she could like, Mugen found Yatshua and became an agent of the government to be with her, and Jin finally waited 3 years and was reunited with Shino where she got married. But one thing I know is that even if they all go their own separates ways they will never forget their travels together).

 

Final Thoughts

 

What an amazing anime. Samurai Champloo has honestly got to be one of the most creative animes I’ve seen in my life. While the anime doesn’t have a complex or compelling plot it makes up for it with it’s story and the characters. The story of Samurai Champloo is an amazing mix of the Edo period mixed with the hip-hop lifestyle and culture of the 21st century and three characters who are totally different from each other traveling together and interacting with this world. The anime does a good job showing us how tough the world was back then and how things we have today were treated as a luxury and blessings back then. We see how anarchy ruled the period but we also see the show tackle other subjects such as corrupt governements, gang wars, prostitution and many other mediums that these types of animes tend to explore. And the stories presented in this anime can be related to the world right now. We get some pretty deep and meaningful stories that give us an idea of how things worked back then but we also got comedic stories that make us laugh and show us how inventive they got with the shows concept. The characters in this show are great. Mugen is hands down the best character. He represents the hip-hop culture. He’s not about honor he’s just a guy who lives life the way he wants to live it and does whatever he feels like doing. Jin that cool and honorable samurai we’ve read about in the books and have always dreamt of seeing in anime. He has a code that he follows and has a sense of duty and honor that he feels he’s obligated to live by. Fuu is like a mixture of the Edo period and modern day girl. She seems to have nothing against the time period she was born in but she doesn’t seem bound to the rules of the period. She’s her own girl who speaks her mind, isn’t afraid to stand up to others, and despite always needing to be rescued by Mugen and Jin you really don’t come to hate her or find her annoying because of it. I also like her she doesn’t have any romantic feelings for Mugen and Jin but instead just sees them as older brothers who she can trust and depend on. The interactions between these three characters is great and funny. They work off each other so well as if they were all siblings.

 

The animation for this anime is beautiful to look at especially the scenes of nature. I don’t know they just use the right color green that makes the nature scenes look so beautiful and vibrant. The action scenes are amazing. They’re brutal, intense, and display a distinct knowledge of different fighting. I like how they made Mugen and Jin have different fighting styles. Mugen’s style is more wild and unpredictable but at the same time he leaves himself open. Jin’s style is more discipline and follows that of skilled samurai. It’s really hard to decide which style I like the most but if I had to choose if would be Mugen’s style just because it’s more wild, unpredictable, and something you never thought you would see in a sword fight. The one factor that really brings this anime to the next level is the music. By God, the music in this anime is amazing. Get used to me saying that because I’m going to be saying that a lot throughout the summer. Every song in this anime is a hit. I loved all of them. The mixture of hip-hop mixed with traditional Japanese was done perfectly and matches the flow of the series. Now you’re probably wondering why the hip-hop/rap music works here but in other animes it fails horribly? Well the answer to that is quite simple. Watanabe hired guys who knew exactly what they were doing. Fat Jon, Nujabes, and the other artists had a firm understanding of what the show was about and what Watanabe wanted them to do with the music. He gave these guys plenty of freedom to do what they wanted not hindering their styles or creativity which is what a lot of other studios do. Studios believe that if a song sounds hip and cool it’ll be a hit. That’s not always true. The music in this show not only sounds great and cool but it conveys the emotions of the characters within the scene or the scene itself. It draws you in it puts you in a state of mind where you’re literally right there with the characters in the scene feeling the emotional weight they’re feeling and everything.

 

Final Score

 

The final score for Samurai Champloo is a 9/10 with a must watch stamp of approval. This anime showed us that when done correctly hip-hop and anime can coexist together and create something amazing and awe-inspiring to this day that people are still talking about it. The anime has suspense, comedy, historical events, tragedy and good understanding of what it is and an amazing crew working on it. If I’m speaking honestly this is one of my top 11 favorite animes of all time and rightfully so. If you’re looking for a good samurai anime check this anime out you won’t be disappointed. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj. Now if you’ll excuse me I got some construction work to do.

 

*All videos, pictures, and music are not owned by me and belong to their respected owners. All rights reserved.*

 

Thanks for reading. As always feel free to leave a comment, feedback, or request down belong or send to iamprojectnitsuj@gmail.com

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